paul maurice april 2014When Paul Maurice was hired as the head coach of the Winnipeg Jets earlier this year, he said he wanted his contract to run out at the end of the season.

Maurice said he didn’t want to commit himself to the club as he wanted to discuss his future with his family before signing any long-term deals. It now appears the Maurice family is quite happy in Winnipeg as the Jets announced they have re-signed the coach to a four-year contract.

General manager Kevin Cheveldayoff also said the team’s assistant coaches will stay with the club and another one may be hired during the offseason. The 47-year-old Maurice took over behind the bench back on Jan. 12 when former bench boss Claude Noel was let go.

Maurice guided the team to an 18-12-5 record, but the Jets missed the Western Conference playoffs even after winning nine out of 11 games when he took over. The team was hit with injuries and slumped during the last month of the season to finish in 11th place in the conference with a record of 37-35-10.

The Jets have now missed the postseason in each of the last three seasons since the franchise relocated there from Atlanta. The last time they made the playoffs was in the 2006-07 season as the Atlanta Thrashers.

Maurice has previously coached with the Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Toronto Maple Leafs in the NHL and has 1,119 games behind him. His record is 478-469-73 along with 99 ties. He also spent some time in Russia, coaching the 2012-13 season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

Cheveldayoff said it didn’t take long to sign Maurice as he was interested in remaining in Winnipeg to help the team move forward. The GM said Maurice could have turned the Jets down and gone elsewhere, but he genuinely enjoys living and working in Winnipeg.

Cheveldayoff added that the team’s players and assistant coaches wanted Maurice to stay even though they failed in their goal to reach the playoffs.

Team captain Andrew Ladd stated, “I think he's a great coach and a great mind, and is really good for this group. I think that everyone in that room loves to play for him.”

The Jets also announced that 26-year-old goaltender Ondrej Pavelec will remain with the team even though he struggled this season. Pavelec played 57 games and posted a record of 22-26-7 along with a 90.1 save percentage and a goals-against average of 3.01.

Cheveldayoff said the club isn’t looking to buy out the goalie’s contract or trade him and he will likely be the squad’s No. 1 netminder again next season.

Cheveldayoff said his next job is to prepare for the NHL Entry Draft in Philadelphia on June 27-28. The Jets hold the ninth overall pick.

He also has to decide which free agents to keep during the summer, starting with forward Michael Frolik who scored 15 goals and 27 assists for 42 points. Frolik will become a restricted free agent on July 1.

Cheveldayoff said he likes his current roster and Jets’ fans shouldn’t expect any major free-agent signings this summer as there are some good prospects in the organization already.


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